HOUSTON, TX-- Another mass shooting Wednesday-- this one at a social service center in San Bernardino, California. Three gunman went in and opened fire, killing more than a dozen people and wounding even more.
But does that surprise anyone when you consider more folks applied to get guns on Black Friday than any other day in history? Over 185,000 background checks were done. Did that correlate with gun sales? It did at one local gun shop.
"Last year was actually better, but this year was very, very strong," says Jospeh Beck, the wild-bearded, bespeckled owner of The Liberty Armory near Bellaire that doubles as a shooting range.
Beck says mass shootings and media coverage are not the main things driving his gun sales. "When there's robbery locally, here on this same street we're on... you'll see people suddenly be aware, 'Okay, crime can happen to us, and we need to take those steps to protect ourselves."
"A couple of days before Black Friday, my wife and I were actually robbed," says HCC graduate Dwayne Decuire, "It definitely raised my awareness of my surroundings, but the thought of purchasing a gun didn't cross my mind."
"Mass shootings are a tragedy and a horrific reality that we're having to face right now," acknowledges Beck, "but If you were to take an AR (automatic rifle) platform and stick it out in the middle of this street and leave it there for 24 hours and no one touched it, no one's going to die because of it. Ultimately, it's the user behind the gun that decides whether or not that is used for violence."
Decuire agrees, "I don't really see the gun as the issue as much as the attitude that sits behind the bullet or the trigger itself."
Stephen Abrams is proud of the fact he is licensed to carry his concealed handgun. He says he carries everywhere he can, "I think more guns,-- I don't know if it's gonna make crime better. But it's not gonna make it worse."
Not sure if the folks in San Bernardino would agree.